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What's New for 2017 in Southwest Arkansas

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Camper cabins at Lake Ouachita State Park
Four new camper cabins have been added to the lineup at Lake Ouachita State Park. Camper cabins include heating and air conditioning, a queen bed, bunk bed ( guests bring own linens), a bench dining table, and a screened-in porch outfitted with deck chairs to enjoy the view from the campground.
CONTACT: 501-767-9366, www.ArkansasStateParks.com/LakeOuachita.
 
El Dorado Entertainment District
A new Arts and Entertainment District is in the works in El Dorado. The multi-phase project is expected to provide venues to showcase artistic outlets like touring Broadway shows, musicians, traveling art exhibits, a farm-to-table restaurant, and outdoor festivals.
CONTACT: 870-863-4547, www.ElDoFest.com.
 
Islet Cove Paddle Trail
A sign at DeGray Lake Resort State Park’s marina marks the access point for the 3-mile trail, which is a flatwater paddle on the lake. Eight numbered, yellow markers along the lakeshore correspond to a brochure developed by park interpreters that highlights points of interest and history of the area. The brochure is available at the park’s marina, lodge and visitor center. The trail is part of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission Arkansas Water Trails program.
CONTACT: 501-256-4262, www.DeGray.com.
 
The Hotel Hot Springs & Spa
The Austin Convention Hotel & Spa, which is now under new ownership, underwent a full renovation project and is now the Hotel Hot Springs & Spa. Renovations that have been completed or are in the works include newly remodeled guest rooms, a new and enlarged spa with hot springs thermal mineral water, a new lobby bar, fitness center, pool, renovated meeting space, shuttle service to attractions and the Inside Track Grill & Sports Lounge.
CONTACT: 501-623-6600, www.HotelHotSprings.org.
 
Hot Springs Village Discovery Center
An avenue to learn about the activities and events available at Hot Springs Village. Located in downtown Hot Springs in the historic Wade Building. The center is a point of entry for those wishing to visit Hot Springs Village or learn more about it. While there, people can schedule outings, learn about community programs and events and how to participate in them, or get information on lots or home purchases. Of note, a guest pass is needed for visitors to gain access to Hot Springs Village.
CONTACT: 501-922-5510, www.ExploreTheVillage.com.
 
Monument at Hot Springs National Park
A new memorial to Hot Springs National Park Ranger James Alexander Cary, who in 1927 became the first National Park Service ranger killed in the line of duty when he was shot by bootleggers, is now at Hot Springs National Park.The monument is a park ranger hat and is located on the lawn of the park's administration building on Bathhouse Row.
CONTACT: 501-620-6715, www.NPS.gov/hosp/index.htm.
 
Red Light Roastery in Hot Springs
This craft coffee roastery is the first small batch roastery of its kind in Hot Springs. It also serves as a coffee shop.
CONTACT: 501- 609-9357, www.RedLightRoastery.com.
 
The Waters Hotel
The Waters Hotel is now open in downtown Hot Springs at 340 Central Avenue. The 62-room boutique hotel is housed in the former Thompson Building, a century-old building located next to The Ohio Club, which is said to be the oldest bar in Arkansas. The hotel is named after the thermal waters the city is famous for and an on-site restaurant is called The Avenue in honor of Central Avenue, the famous street the hotel is located on. The new hotel is surrounded by Hot Springs National Park, whose protected springs, with water at around 143 degrees Farenheit, were the first and continue to be the only federally controlled hot springs in the nation that are managed for both public heath and consumptive use.
CONTACT: 501-321-0001, www.TheWatersHS.com.
 
Visitor Center at Logoly State Park
Logoly State Park near Magnolia, the state’s first environmental education state park, has a new 7,161-square-foot visitors center. Most of Logoly’s 368 acres comprise a State Natural Area that includes a unique collection of plant species native to the western Gulf Coastal Plain.
CONTACT: 870-695-3561, www. ArkansasStateParks.com/Logoly.